NFL: Brady Ordered His Cellphone Destroyed After Meeting With NFL Investigators

511px-Tom_Brady_2011As expected, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game Deflategate suspension. What is notable however is one fact released by the NFL. Brady allegedly met with NFL investigators, including Ted Wells, and then (after being informed of the need to examine his cellphone) ordered minions to destroy his phone. In a criminal case, such an action could be viewed as obstruction — a separate chargeable offense.

Here is the NFL’s release:

“On or shortly before March 6, the day that Tom Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells and his colleagues, Brady directed that the cellphone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed. He did so even though he was aware that the investigators had requested access to text messages and other electronic information that had been stored on that phone.

“During the four months that the cellphone was in use, Brady had exchanged nearly 10,000 text messages, none of which can now be retrieved from that device. The destruction of the cellphone was not disclosed until June 18, almost four months after the investigators had first sought electronic information from Brady.

I share the NFL’s view that the destruction of the phone is highly suspicious conduct. We have previously discussed the scandal.

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“Based on the Wells Report and the evidence presented at the hearing, Commissioner Goodell concluded in his decision that Brady was aware of, and took steps to support, the actions of other team employees to deflate game footballs below the levels called for by the NFL’s Official Playing Rules. The commissioner found that Brady’s deliberate destruction of potentially relevant evidence went beyond a mere failure to cooperate in the investigation and supported a finding that he had sought to hide evidence of his own participation in the underlying scheme to alter the footballs.”

According to reports, Brady authorized the NFL Players Association to escalate the matter to the legal system, and the NFL has also asked a New York court to confirm its decision.

The NFLPA called the commissioner’s decision “outrageous,” and issued its own statement.

“The Commissioner’s ruling today did nothing to address the legal deficiencies of due process. The NFL remains stuck with the following facts:

■ The NFL had no policy that applied to players;

■ The NFL provided no notice of any such policy or potential discipline to players;

■ The NFL resorted to a nebulous standard of “general awareness” to predicate a legally unjustified punishment;

■ The NFL had no procedures in place until two days ago to test air pressure in footballs; and

■ The NFL violated the plain meaning of the collective bargaining agreement.

The fact that the NFL would resort to basing a suspension on a smoke screen of irrelevant text messages instead of admitting that they have all of the phone records they asked for is a new low, even for them, but it does nothing to correct their errors.

The NFLPA will appeal this outrageous decision on behalf of Tom Brady.”

The NFL explained its decision in a 20-page report that accompanied its announcement. According to the report, Brady testified at his suspension appeal hearing on June 23 that it is standard practice for him, or his assistant, to destroy his old cellphones and SIM cards upon acquiring a new one.

He began using a new phone “on or about March 6,” which is also the day he met with Ted Wells and investigators to be interviewed about Deflategate.

Goodell served as the arbitrator for the appeal hearing, which was held at NFL headquarters in New York on June 23. The closed-door hearing lasted 11 hours, and ESPN reported that nearly 40 people were in the room.

Among the witnesses was Wells, who led the Deflategate investigation that resulted in Brady’s four-game suspension. Wells confirmed he testified but didn’t offer any details.

Though Patriots owner Robert Kraft was not at the hearing, he wrote a letter on Brady’s behalf.

Brady’s legal team argued that not only did Wells find no definitive proof of a scheme to deflate game balls in the AFC Championship game against the Colts or of Brady having any knowledge of such a plan, it also claimed Brady’s punishment was far too harsh based on precedent — a four-game suspension would cost Brady $1.88 million.

Brady was initially notified of his suspension by NFL vice president of football operations Troy Vincent on May 11. The Patriots were also penalized, losing a first-round draft pick in 2016, a fourth-round pick in 2017, and fined a league-record $1 million.

On May 14, the NFL Players Association filed an appeal on Brady’s behalf.

In its letter to Vincent, which was signed by NFLPA general counsel Tom DePaso, the union outlined three major points as to why Brady’s punishment should be vacated or reduced.

The first: Under the collective bargaining agreement, Vincent does not have the authority to determine and mete out discipline, only Goodell does.

“As both Mr. Brady’s discipline letter and the NFL’s public statements make clear, you were tasked by Commissioner Goodell to determine whether Mr. Brady should be subject to discipline for conduct detrimental in connection with the events described in the Wells Report, and if so, to decide and impose the discipline,” the letter said. “And you have, in fact, imposed Mr. Brady’s discipline pursuant to the Commissioner’s purported delegation of his authority.

“Any such delegation is a plain violation of the CBA. The CBA grants the Commissioner — and only the Commissioner — the authority to impose conduct detrimental discipline on players.”

Another of the union’s points of contention was that Brady’s four-game suspension was far too harsh given precedent and punishment given to other players for similar infractions; and it also attacked the credibility of the Wells Report.

Just hours after the appeal was filed, news emerged that Goodell intended to serve as the appeals officer. The NFLPA then demanded that Goodell recuse himself and appoint a neutral arbitrator, arguing in part that if the league truly believed the Wells Report was a fair and independent investigation, it should have no problem having an independent individual oversee the appeal.

Additionally, the NFLPA made clear its intention of calling Goodell and Vincent as witnesses at the hearing, and having the commissioner as de facto judge and witness would complicate that.

On May 22, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, appearing on ESPN, said the union had not gotten a response from Goodell on whether he would recuse himself and if there wasn’t a response within a week, the union would “turn up the volume” on its request.

A report came a short time after Smith’s interview aired that Goodell had decided to remain as arbitrator, but a league spokesmen said Goodell had not made his decision. Rather, the NFL’s lawyers had submitted their arguments to Goodell as to why he should not hand off the hearing to a different arbitrator.

41 thoughts on “NFL: Brady Ordered His Cellphone Destroyed After Meeting With NFL Investigators”

  1. Short of an order by a Judge I’d not turn over my smart phone either. That was NOT the case and that’s the problem. NFL = Yawn.

  2. Just this morning I watched a cable news program still yakking on and on about “deflategate.” The NFL publicity campaign is working. Fact is simple enough: no one in the NFL had the legal authority to demand turn over of a cell phone, but yet they use it to punish Brady. Good NFL-PR and nothing more…it is August yet we still hear about it as if it was a real criminal case. Nonsense. This is one more brick in the wall that makes me disinterested in anything NFL. Truth is that the instance where the NFL cites deflation…it was remedied at half time and Brady and the Patriots blew out the Colts none the less with “authorized” ball inflation. Say what? Please.

  3. Baseless allegations. What does a judge do with that? Demand proof. Oh yeah, huh? Wait a minute. The Extreme Court just recently comingled the definitions of “state” and “federal.” I forgot about the “corruption” of the judicial branch. Oh, oh. Look out, Tom. If you’ve got any extra cash, I know of a good place to deploy it right about now.

  4. Please tell me if I am wrong but it seems to me that the preservation of this piece of evidence can only be ordered by a judge?

    1. Dieter Heymann – I had the same thought you did, but there might be something in the union contract that allows it.

  5. Sillyteat,

    I love the moniker you assigned to Tom Brady. Very polite. I’m sure you know Tom very well.

    There are many variables in life and in the sport of those who live it.

    2lbs. of air seems insignificant. Steroids and game fixing might be of slightly greater import.

    Here are your allegations, in English. Please provide your proof for each:

    “The notion that Brady might not have realized what was going on with the footballs is downright laughable. Any elite athlete who has spent thousands of hours practicing and playing their sport can tell you if the weight of the bat is off by a half-ounce, if the basketball is under-inflated by an ounce, and so on. This guy is another Lance Armstrong. Big. Fat. Liar.”

  6. Well, Nick, I too enjoy finding agreement with those I almost never agree, so I will carpe the diem.

    forgotwhoiam, my apologies. I thought English was your first language and that we were discussing this on some kind of level ground. Google translator is getting better by the day. You might have some luck with it. Meanwhile, I’ll let all this go because you are obviously struggling.

  7. “Men, of any stripe, who beat women should be punished, counseled, prevented from owning firearms, etc.”


    Shall we assume, then, that you aren’t a proponent of the “Rule of Thumb” and won’t be a supporter of the effort to repeal of the disastrous, unpreambular and unconstitutional 19th amendment?


    If Richard Mllhous Nixon “lied,” what have Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barry Soetoro et al. done?

    Monica Lewinsky, her “Bimbo” colleagues on “Orgy Island,” conspirators to delete 2 entire servers compared to an “18-minute gap,” the Russians who were “reset” by the eminently competent Sec. of State before they invaded Ukraine, the very dead Ambassador to Libya and his staff, Edward Snowden and the attorney suing Obama for executive “overreach,” as examples, might shed some light on that.

  8. While I personally believe that there is a plethora of circumstantial evidence implicating Brady in “Deflate-Gate,” I do not believe that his cell phone is fair game; although it’s subsequent destruction itself plays into the hands of circumstantial on its own merits alone!
    They may never uncover any information from “Tom Terrific” himself, but given the scope of time, I just have this eerie feeling that someone who is in possession of some of those Brady transmissions is going to come forward with an incriminating email or two from/to him that will totally unravel his web of deception, and lay waste to his public persona of trying to be an NFL darling!

  9. I’m going to agree somewhat w/ philly. I actually always look for places I agree w/ people w/ whom I almost always disagree.There are parallels w/ Brady and the compulsive degenerate lying SOS Pete Rose. I think Rose was much more blatant and involved w/ his obsession. But, they both are arrogant, entitled athletes, who made the same big mistake all people of their ilk make, lying like Dick Nixon did.

  10. My side? What makes you think I have a side? I know, I know. You and your kind LOVE to project all your fears and anxieties onto others and then blame them for the very things you are doing. Like the ridiculous christians who scream “persecution!” because they are no longer allowed to persecute others.

    For the record:
    I think Bill Cosby is 99% likely to be guilty as hell for everything he’s been accused of and a lot more.
    I think sports, athletes, and sports fans are 99% overrated in their general importance, sense of self-importance and overall contribution to life on planet Earth.
    Men, of any stripe, who beat women should be punished, counseled, prevented from owning firearms, etc.
    I actually could not care less about Tom Brady or the Stupid Bowl. Just another lying athlete scumbag. Like Pete Rose.

    Have some f’ing dignity.




  12. If I had a boyfriend, my wife would be upset…or was that actionable defamation? Perhaps you were seeking a “San Francisco” blog.

    My point is that this Brady event is a tempest in a tea pot.

    Your side acts as if this is somehow important in the grand scheme of things.

    Do you know the air pressure in your tires? Is every tire precisely at the specification?

    It appears to me to be an anti-Brady campaign and the air pressure is a weak excuse to conduct it.

    Your side probably still loves Bill Cosby. He’s black. He’s untouchable, therefore he CAN’T be guilty, right?

    Why don’t you tell us he engaged in game fixing and corruption on the level of FIFA, that he shot and killed his friend with a 9mm pistol, took steroids, knocked his wife out on an elevator or abused and beat his adolescent child with a switch? Why don’t you generate some serious charges? Because you can’t. Because serious charges don’t exist.

    Brady slaughtered his opponents with any and all kinds of air pressure. Air pressure had no bearing on the outcome of the game and



    You’re all a bunch of frauds. Not to put too fine a point on it.

    2 lbs. of air pressure.

    What a joke.

    1. forgotwhoiam – I really think this whole thing is a ploy for the NFL to get more money in its coffers. What do they do with the fine money anyway? Throw a party?

  13. Again I must ask: Who here would hand over their smart/cell phone to a 3rd party that has no legal authority to subpoena it? The rest of the fandango is pure rubbish…but keeps the NFL in the news in the heat of July.

  14. forgotwhoiam:
    So everybody lies and everybody cheats and your boyfriend got caught cheating so you want to spread around the blame and make it all about something else. Sorry, that won’t fly. He’s going to have to suck it up and take his punishment, and you should too.

  15. PT, have you ever heard of steroids? Baseball and basketball have been corrupt and fixed since the “White Sox” threw the World Series. Jessica Savitch reported that Gene Klein was meeting with the mob in Acapulco and she died in a car crash with a couple of months. Check out the Ali “air punch of Sonny Liston. And you accuse Brady of causing a 15% variation in football air pressure. Ever hear of pine tar?

    Next you’ll be telling us Brady’s jock strap is 2 millimeters out of position.

    Let’s play some more gotcha football.

    Let’s find out who’s biting opponents in the scrum; who’s spitting.

    Let’s put cameras in the locker rooms, hallways and team areas.

    How many penalties affect the outcome of the game and go uncalled.

    Seems to me that this is yet another OFFICIATING FAILURE.

    A couple of pounds of air is a victimless technical violation.

  16. The Patriots are renegades. Brady may get a favorable ruling if the ultra liberal Federal Judge in Minneapolis is the venue. Otherwise, he will probably lose. Goodell has the backing of other owners on this. I despise Goodell and the Patriots. This is a-hole vs. a-hole.

    Regarding Goodell being the arbiter of the union appeal. That is not uncommon. The vast majority of players know they are never likely to be disciplined, so they vote to allow the Commissioner to rule on appeals in exchange for other benefits in the basic agreement. This happens in union companies all the time.

  17. The notion that Brady might not have realized what was going on with the footballs is downright laughable. Any elite athlete who has spent thousands of hours practicing and playing their sport can tell you if the weight of the bat is off by a half-ounce, if the basketball is under-inflated by an ounce, and so on. This guy is another Lance Armstrong. Big. Fat. Liar.

  18. when ever I check pressure I lose some. How do we know the umps didn’t lose it? As to the phone….i’m with taking the fifth. It wasn’t some ‘record’ like for the irs it was his comm in real time….but for tech there would be no ‘record’….but with tech there is no real delete either. Let them bring forth the ‘hearers’ instead of self incrimination….if there was a phone there is another phone on the rx end….did they destroy their’s too? Him destroying his phone was an act of constitutional right….no doubt whatever it said would eventually find way to ‘legal’ authorities once in a third parties hands in more view than meta data….i.e.content.

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